Second Kings 22 tells the story of King Josiah. Josiah “was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” One of the outcomes of Josiah’s devotion to God was his desire to prioritize the care and upkeep of the temple (good leaders who are after God’s heart always prioritize the building up and strengthening of the church. Bad leaders use the church and individuals in the church to advance their “ministerial careers” and to make a name for themselves).
In the process of building up the temple, the “Law of the Lord” (likely the Pentateuch (i.e., the books of Genesis–Deuteronomy) was rediscovered. I know it seems strange, but yes, this means that Israel and its leaders totally forgot that they even had a Bible(!) The neglect of the people of God goes hand-in-hand with the neglect of Scripture.
As it was with Josiah, so it is with us. When we have a passion for God, the Word of God becomes central. In this case, the Word of God was rediscovered.
I have a young friend who claims to want to know God and pursue truth, but, as this individual tells me, what he’s looking for is “an experience.” In response to this, I wish to suggest that one who is genuinely in pursuit of God must make the word of God (not an experience) central to that pursuit.
Experiences come and go. Peter, James, and John had quite the experience on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17). That experience, indeed, was a part of the host of things that Peter witnessed that convinced him that he would follow Jesus unto death. However, when the time came, he betrayed him. All the emotions, thoughts, and sensations that came with the experience did not sustain his obedience to Jesus.
The Israelites had quite the experience of witnessing the plagues in Egypt. They even walked through the Dead Sea on dry ground! They also witnessed numerous miracles in their desert. Yet, they bemoaned their deliverance. They just wanted to go back to Egypt. The sensational faded, and so did their obedience.
My point is that the genuine pursuit of God, knowing about him and knowing him, will always be centered in and on the Scriptures. The Bible is the divinely authorized, inspired, authoritative, inerrant, clear, sufficient, and unified self-revelation of God. “If you want to find me the way I wish to be found, eat the Word.” Any experience of God or sensation of the supernatural must always be measured by the Word. Scripture is the norming norm. It is the “canon,” meaning “standard by which things are measured” (among other things).
God’s overarching aim in redeeming us is not to give you some sensory experience. His wish—fulfilled in the redemptive plan that culminates in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus—is centrally aimed at restoring the image of God in individuals; to shape them into the moral image of Jesus. God’s aim is to make humans holy. That in itself is sensational! The sensational claim of the gospel is that God can make people holy. He can regenerate them to be free from the guilt and power of sin. He can transform us so that He is our first love (evidenced in obedience).
The preeminent sacrament of the church is communion. The preeminent sign of our deliverance is the cross. Think on these things.
Do you hunger for God, or an experience? If you are hungry for God, the only thing that will satisfy and sustain you is the Word. If you’re hungry for God, eat the word. Don’t go stuffing yourself with experiences that fade away. They won’t sustain you.
(Editor's Note: This blog was posted first on Dr. Ayars blog site HERE.)